This is a reblog of an excellent post by Hannah McCall. What’s the deal with split infinitives anyway? Is there some grammar scale that will tell me how bad they are? Can I get away with one or two if I REALLY want them, or will some special book police show up and cause me grief?
These questions and more answered, so read on. And while you’re at Hannah’s site, take a look around. She’s got plenty of other useful writing tips to share. 🙂
An infinitive is the form of a verb made by adding to to its stem (e.g. to go or to do).
It is often argued that there should never be anything between the to and the stem. In Latin, the infinitive is a single word. This has led to the belief that the infinitive in English should be treated as a single unified concept, and that it is bad grammar to separate the two parts.
It is not bad grammar to split an infinitive; there is no grammatical reason not to. It is sometimes impossible to convey your meaning without splitting the infinitive. Sentences quite often read better when the infinitive has been split.
The most famous example of a split infinitive is probably to boldly go (from Star Trek). Would to go boldly or boldly to go have the same emphasis? No. Are they more natural? No.
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